Paradisaea is the genus of birds of paradise that contains the world's most spectacular species. The males of the seven species, all of which are native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, boast some of the most impressive ornamental plumes and long tail wires of any of the birds of paradise. Their amazing plumage is shown off to the females in a display area, or lek. Species in this group include the iconic greater bird of paradise.
Scientific name: Paradisaea
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The genus Paradisaea consists of seven species of birds-of-paradise (family Paradisaeidae). The genus is found on the island of New Guinea as well as the nearby islands groups of the Aru Islands, D'Entrecasteaux Islands and West Papua Islands. The species inhabit a range of forest types from sea level to mid-montane forests. Several species have highly restricted distributions, and all species have disjunct distributions. A 2009 study examining the mitochondrial DNA of the family found that the Paradisaea birds-of-paradise were in a clade with the genus Cicinnurus. It showed that the Blue Bird-of-paradise was a sister taxon to all the other species in this genus.
All are large, and sexually dimorphic. The plumage of the males includes characteristic grossly elongated flank plumes (which emerge from beneath the wings and strictly speaking are flank plumes pectoral plumes), and a pair of wire-like feathers emerging from the end of the tail. The flank plumes are used during breeding displays.
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